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Gaita Reinterprets Teodora Alonso’s Bolognese Sausage For An Evening At Leon Gallery

Jose Rizal and his mother were reunited over dinner on the historic Arnedo Table at León Gallery recently. The hero had once supped on it incognito, said host Jaime Ponce de Leon, as did Heneral Antonio Luna, a parade of princes, European and Asian, and even one American President, William Howard Taft.

 

The Arnedo Table

 

Capitan Joaquin Arnedo’s legendary menus may have met their match with Gaita Fores (voted Asia’s top female chef) who personally supervised the cooking of a Rizal family recipe—the delectable Bolognese Sausage. Fores executed this 19th-century find as an Italian embutido, wrapped in bacon and on a bed of fresh tomato sauce. That recipe is part of a trove of documents that once belonged to Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonso, along with various letters from different personalities. Part of the same lot are the court documents for the suit brought against her that molded the hero’s sense of justice and patriotism as a young boy.

 

Jaime Ponce de Leon with Chef Gaita Fores and the Teodora Alonso recipe and the Rizal sculpture

 

The Teodora Alonso Bolognese Sausage

 

Also taking center stage was the extremely rare bas relief called “The Filipino,” sculpted by no less than our national hero Rizal himself, while in exile in Dapitan, sometime between 1892 and his martyrdom in 1896. 

The private dinner was held in the León Gallery main room which featured several seminal works or paintings considered the first of its kind. Among these were the Melian-Zobel Amorsolo “Under the Mango Tree” which is considered the original of all such works, having been painted in 1931 for Doña Margarita Zobel de Ayala. Doña Margarita was, after all, the sister of Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala, the millionaire-industrialist who gave Amorsolo his start and who sent him to Madrid to study at the Royal Academy.

 

Alejandro Pertierra with Tats Manahan

 

Ces with the Teodora Alonso Bolognese Sausage

 

Artist Betsy Westendorp Brias and Jaime Ponce de Leon

 

Adding a visual counterpoint to the dinner were works by Ang Kiukok; an early figurative Lao LianBen of a pair of horses set in a traditional Chinese seal; Manansalas depicting rich Filipino symbolisms from “Planting Rice” to “Woman Embroidering”; a Roberto Chabet depicting the Texas School Book Repository window from where JFK was assassinated. An exceptional BenCab—even rarer since it is an oil on canvas—from his Larawan series.

There is also an extraordinary Lorenzo Guerrero, titled “At River’s Bend,” a painting of the Pasig River eastern banks. Guerrero is best known as the man who taught Juan Luna how to paint and was himself an artist of note. This is one of the many highlights of the upcoming León Gallery Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2018, which takes place on Saturday, 9 June 2018.